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Regulated by a Philadelphia Traitor William Taylor Marked Half Joe

Brazil. Joao V 6400 Reis 1749-R. Rio mint. WT for William Taylor.
KM149. VF. Clipped and re-edged. Plugged and marked WT in rectangular cartouche, likely that of William Taylor of Philadelphia. Weight a half grain under the typical post-Revolutionary standard of 9 dwt (215.4 grains); that weight was the accepted standard by the signatories of the 1777 Philadelphia merchants petition. Clipped circumferentially, relatively evenly removing half of the denticles, re-edged with a simple design of oval beads. Neat circular plug nearly flush at central obverse, mark aligned upside down within it, reverse plug flush, apparently a long plug hammered down towards 7:00. Even and dusky medium yellow gold, even wear, cut in right obverse field undoubtedly a test mark. To the naked eye, the color of gold in the plug is different from that of the surrounding coin.

The Byrne Collection included a WT regulated piece that was also marked by Burger. At the listed weight of 13.95 grams, it is identical to the present specimen. Gordon cites this piece on p. 96. It is the only other Taylor regulated piece we have heard of. Interestingly, the Burger mark on that coin is not over a plug, but the WT mark is; this means Taylor got to it first and when Burger got to it, the piece already weighed the correct 9 dwt (the 1784 New York standard to which Burger regulated).

"William Taylor, silversmith," is listed in the June 17, 1778 issue of the Pennsylvania Packet as having joined the British Army. Another familiar name appeared on the same list: James Smither, the engraver responsible for several cuts on Pennsylvania currency.

Taylor's name, or the name of someone named William Taylor, also appears in the November 6, 1777 issue of the Pennsylvania Evening Post as a signatory to the 1777 Philadelphia merchants petition agreeing to accept Half Joes weighing 9 dwt at 60 shillings. While we would not be surprised to learn that there was more than one man named William Taylor in Philadelphia in 1777, the number of men with that name who would be considered merchants and who would have a vested interest in the weight of gold coins must be tiny: one would be a logical number to conclude upon.

Provenance: From Glendining's sale of the John J. Ford Jr. Collection of West Indian Cut and Countermarked Coins, October 1989, Lot 266.
From the Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.

Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
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